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SINGAPORE: Malaysian palm oil futures fell on Monday, snapping a three-session rally, as significant profit-taking, weaker rival vegetable oils, and lower crude prices weighed on prices.

The benchmark palm oil contract for May delivery on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange ended 74 ringgit, or 1.7%, lower at 4,278 ringgit ($955.76). The benchmark closed at its highest since Nov. 8 on Friday.

On Monday, palm prices edged lower, mirroring the losses in palm olein on Dalian, amid intense profit-taking and positioning ahead of the Price Outlook Conference (POC), driving the market lower, said Sathia Varqa of Fast Markets Palm Oil Analytics.

However, the market’s short-term fundamentals remain positive, he added.

Dalian’s most active soyoil contract dipped 0.69%, while its palm oil contract fell 1.83%. Soyoil prices on the Chicago Board of Trade were down 0.64%.

Palm oil is affected by price movements in related oils as they compete for a share in the global vegetable oils market.

Oil prices slipped after China set a lower-than-expected target for economic growth this year at around 5%, and as investors cautiously awaited U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s testimony this week.

Palm oil logs fourth weekly rise on flooding woes

Weaker crude oil futures make palm a less attractive option for biodiesel feedstock.

India, the world’s biggest importer of vegetable oils, is considering raising its import duty on palm oil to help support local farmers reeling from a crash in domestic rapeseed prices, government and industry officials said on Monday.

Malaysia’s palm oil inventories at the end of February are forecast to shrink as production, hampered by heavy rains and flooding, tumbled to a one-year low, a Reuters survey showed on Friday.

Output, which has been declining since October, is expected to slump 8.65% from the previous month to 1.26 million tonnes, while exports are seen up 0.29% to 1.14 million tonnes.

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